This Labor Day weekend, millions of Texas motorists will be enjoying their last summer road trip.
Thanks to state and local law enforcement, they’ll be in good company.
State troopers and local law enforcement officers throughout Texas are stepping up enforcement of the state’s DWI laws as part of a national effort to reduce alcohol-related traffic fatalities. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Texas Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement organizations to get drunk drivers off the road.
“If you drink and drive over Labor Day weekend, you could land in jail,” said Carlos Lopez, TxDOT’s Director of Traffic Operations. “Thousands of officers will be patrolling streets and highways all over Texas, and you will be arrested if you are driving while intoxicated.”
NHTSA recently reported that alcohol-related fatalities in Texas decreased by 7.9 percentage points from 2004 to 2005, resulting in an estimated 135 lives saved. Despite these improvements, federal officials report that 87 percent of alcohol-related traffic deaths involved someone who was legally drunk (with blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) level .08 or greater).
State officials ask motorists who include alcohol in their Labor Day weekend celebrations to keep a few things in mind:
1. If you drink, don’t get behind the wheel.
2. Call a taxi, designate a sober driver, or plan to spend the
night wherever you celebrate.
3. Buckle up — a safety belt is your best defense against a drunk
This month, motorists can also expect billboards and radio ads warning them not to drink and drive. First-time DWI offenders can lose their driver’s license for as much as a year, pay a fine of up to $2,000 and serve up to six months in jail if convicted.